Aging in place, where a resident chooses to stay in their home as long as they are able to, has become one of the more common choices for those who are in their retirement years. It’s generally less expensive and provides the individual with more overall freedom, as they are able to stay in a familiar setting instead of being moved into a senior living community.
One important step in embracing this choice is considering how you can adapt your home to support you as you age by installing fixtures and upgrades that make your home more accessible. This is most important in the bathroom, which is typically seen as being more hazardous than other rooms in the house. The top 3 most common changes we experience as we age are decreased mobility, decreased eyesight, and an increased risk of falling, all of which become worse in the presence of water.
By being proactive and installing accessible features before you need them, you can get ahead and avoid accidents, rather than installing them after you get hurt. Of course, the specific items required will vary depending on your personal needs. However, there are a few standard upgrades you should consider if you’re looking to make your home more accessible.
One simple way to protect yourself from falling is to install slip-free materials. You have many options, including slip-free shower/tub flooring, slip-free carpets, and high-quality, trip-resistant rubber bath mats. It’s important to consider the placement of these items, making sure to cover both inside and outside the shower room to support transitions. The great thing about these particular upgrades is that they are easy to find in retail stores, are low in price, and come in an array of shapes and colors so you will always find something to match your bathroom aesthetic.
Install Grab Bars
Another way to make your bathroom more accessible is by installing grab bars. These are particularly useful in supporting those who have difficulty maneuvering. They are generally most useful in the areas where you are most likely to fall, such as the toilet, the sink, and the bathtub/shower. Grab bars are usually nailed into the studs in the wall, which makes them particularly sturdy and useful in supporting someone’s weight. They provide any resident with extra security and they are a relatively inexpensive option as they don’t require any major renovations in order to install them.
Change your fixtures
One of the more labor-intensive changes you can make is to your fixtures. The bathtub and shower areas can be difficult to access for those who have trouble walking and there are a number of things you can do to modify them to become more accessible.
- You can turn your bathroom into a wet room, one which doesn’t have any curbs or steps into the shower. Removing these barriers not only reduces the risk of accidents but also makes the space much larger. It can then often accommodate a wheelchair, or at the very least, a shower chair (more on that below).
- If you don’t want to completely remove your bathtub, you could install a safety tub, which is a bathtub that fills and drains after you have entered and sat down. This has much taller walls than your regular tub and also comes with a swinging door, which makes it easier to move in and out of.
- If none of those appeal to you, or if you don’t have the budget for replacing fixtures, another option is to install a bathtub bench. With one section in the tub and one section outside the tub, the bench allows you to move in and out while seated, eliminating any risk of falling.
- As briefly mentioned above, an option if you only have a shower is to install a shower chair. This is simply a chair that is placed within your shower, allowing the user to sit or stand as they please.
As you can see, it’s possible to make your bathroom more accessible on any budget. If you have questions on the process or how we can help you, check out our bathroom remodelling process or reach out to our team.